Education is a high priority for most Americans, and rightfully so. A good education can open up many career opportunities that would otherwise remain firmly shut. However, there’s no single degree that is right for everyone. Sure, there are several jobs related to computer coding, but you have to be good at computer coding to get one of those jobs. If it’s not something in which you’re skilled, there’s only so much you can do. As the saying goes, you can’t fit a square peg into a round hole. With a lot of determination and a little luck, though, you can find an innovative academic program that makes sense for where you are in life, whether you’re a 20-year-old college sophomore living in the dorms, or a 40-year-old parent looking to return to school.
Know your strengths
Think about your unique skill set. Everyone has one, even if it may not feel like it sometimes. If you are really struggling to list your skills, look into a career counselor. Many colleges have counseling centers specifically for students who are not quite sure what they want to do with their life. You can take tests and figure out where your strengths lie. It’s also a good idea to talk to friends and ask them about areas in which they think you really shine.
Once you have a few ideas, run down the list and see how readily available such degrees are in your chosen area. Are you an aspiring dentist who lives in Northern New Jersey? Then you can look into attending a place like Rutgers School of Dental Medicine. However, there are some states with no dental school. Arkansas and Idaho are two, and others with only private dental schools. If you can’t go out of state or pay higher tuition for a private education, then it might be best to look into becoming a dental hygienist or something similar. Many community colleges offer associate’s degrees in dental hygiene.
Look at trends
Your work isn’t done, even once you’ve settled on a dream career. You still need to figure out how easy it’s going to be to make a living in this field. Many writers dream of being a poetry professor, but there are very few jobs teaching poetry, especially on the tenure track. That means the competition for the few spots that do exist is insanely tight. Professors also can’t afford to be picky about where they live. If there’s a job in a small college town in the middle of nowhere, it’s not sensible to wait around and hope for something to open up in a major city.
Maybe you’re interested in become a corporate recruiter. If so, keep an eye on staffing industry news and try to figure out if the industry is on the upswing or is struggling a bit. The former is obviously better than the latter, but you don’t necessarily have to give up if your preferred career field is experiencing little to no growth. You can still find a job that works for you, but it’s a good idea to know what you’re getting into first.